05 Jun 2012

How A Frugal Romantic Dinner Date in the Park Will Steal Your Lover’s Heart

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Sometimes people’s idea of romance stems only from what a television commercial tells them what they should be doing. It must be working, because every weekend restaurants are booked with lovers waiting in a long line, waiting to be seated in a crowded restaurant that puts a large dent in the budget, to say the least.

But is that truly romance? Is that what couples really want to be doing after a long work week? If one was to define romance, would long lines, loud noise and paying 3 times more for food and wine you could prepare at home really fit the definition?

Ok, so couples need to feel they are getting out of the house and it is nice for someone else to do the cooking. But it certainly doesn’t define a true picture of romance. Imagine this scenario instead: A man or woman surprises a lover with a private, secluded fine dining experience in the park with candlelight, wine, tablecloth on table and favorite foods. The expense is minimal, the intimacy and quiet much more meaningful than a noisy restaurant and the romance – unbeatable.

That is what one of my readers, Joe in Denver did for his girlfriend, Trish, and he said it was the best idea he ever had, with Trish still talking about it a year later.

Joe’s Surprise
Joe surprised Trish with an evening under the stars. He told Trish he was going to surprise her with a new restaurant and created immediate intrigue by telling Trish she would have to be blindfolded for the duration of the car ride. Joe said Trish is always a good sport, so she had no reservations about the mysterious car ride.

What Trish didn’t know was that Joe had no intention of taking her to yet another noisy, disappointing restaurant that was putting a dent in his savings every weekend. Instead, Joe planned a night out at the park by the lake. He was able to convince a few good friends to help carry out the plan, which would take a few hours of their time in the early evening, then they would be free to go.

Joe made a lovely shrimp scampi at home, a tossed salad and then purchased a fresh baguette, wine and small cheesecake. He brought a cooler full of all necessities and borrowed a small table, tablecloth and chairs from his parent’s home – then met his friends out at the park. The table was set with real plates and utensils, the scampi was gently warmed up on a portable Coleman stove and the friends were to wait for his cue, a quick text when he was at Trish’s house, so they knew to get candles lit, CD playing in the portable player, etc.

Joe also utilized a small, portable enclosed outdoor shelter for the “cooking area” so his friends weren’t all standing around them outside. This gave them privacy, even though the friends waited on them, serving the meal, wine and dessert.

Of course, Joe kids that he cannot ask his friends to do this every weekend. But from this romantic evening came a tradition that Joe and Trish do as a team. When weather permits, they pack up the food cooked at home, cooler, table and chairs and head out to the lake for “date night.” They even use the portable shelter when it is drizzling outside, still enjoying the romance and ambiance of being inside the enclosed room, completely away from the crowds they joke are still waiting to be seated at the restaurants.


Grace Pamer is a full time romance and relationship writer. She writes romance and marriage proposal tip columns for various publications including YourTango.com and GalTime.com. As seen on FoxNews.com, Cosmopolitan.com, DivineCaroline.com and CanadianLiving.com to name but a few.

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